Christmas letters share lives with loved ones

Christmas letters share lives with loved ones

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Christmas letters

While reading a local newspaper these past months, I’ve noticed that the cartoon in the Views section runs pessimistic. A recent one commented that this year would be a good year to skip the brag letter. This struck me as I contemplated writing my annual Christmas letter. I believe Christmas letters share our lives with loved ones, no bragging intended.

Twenty-six years of Christmas letters are stored in a file in my cabinet. When I review them, I slip back in time to those days, remembering my children’s accomplishments and whatever else I included in the annual year in review letter for my friends and family. One of my cousins told me once as she shook her head and laughed that she enjoyed getting my Christmas letter each year because it was so real. I tend to not spare the ugly with the good. I try to conclude my newsletter with praises to God for walking with us through another year.

Letters are letters not brag letters

A former pastor brought my attention to the criticism of brag letters one year. It struck me because I never think of letters from my friends and family as brag letters because I genuinely want to know about their lives. This got me thinking that perhaps not everyone on a Christmas card list needs a letter. If recipients cringe when they open my Christmas greetings, then that makes me sad. I tend to think if I love them, they love me and if I love hearing from them, they love hearing from me. That’s not true, I guess.

Many people send out Christmas cards with just a quick greeting for a merry Christmas and happy New Year with their signatures. I’m glad to receive each card. Being remembered means my family and I are thought of.

Everyone is busy. A signed card is better than no greeting. Rare individualized notes stand out because the sender took extra time for that.

Sometimes I add an individualized note to my Christmas letter, but most people on my list get the standard newsletter because I will tell the majority of the people the same news, so it is just easier and more efficient to do it this way.

Christmas letter highlights year

In my Christmas letter, I include what activities my children participated in and a bit about what my husband and I have done during the year. There’s never anything too spectacular—maybe even just too normal?—but if we took a vacation or visited out of state friends, I’d note it. Our vacations when we have them involve road trips and packed food to keep the costs down. We do a lot of hiking, fishing, enjoying nature. There are more years without a vacation than there are with.

But when we do something as a family, I share this in the letter because I think communication is about sharing our lives. I love hearing about my friends’ and family’s years. So, this brag letter thing bothers me.

Now, we come to the 2020 letter. I asked my family about highlights. I’m sad to say there’s not much to report this year. No babies, weddings, deaths, trips, or major changes except for the changes brought on by a pandemic.

Christmas letters keep records of our lives

I resist having no Christmas letter to file. When genealogists read my file someday—let’s just pretend someone might read them—2020 can’t be missing. Though there is nothing much to report, there is still a lot to be thankful for. Sending no letter reflects a sad situation.

If there is no letter, no one can label it a brag letter, but they won’t find much hope either. Christmas letters, to me, wrap up the old year and look forward to the new with the people I care about. There was never any bragging intended. I don’t know if anyone labeled mine brag letters, but I think that the cartoonist was lumping newsletters. If this tradition dies, it’s just another discouraging loss of 2020. I’m tired of loss.

My Christmas letters record the year. Their file compares to a life-long journal. I write it for my loved ones, and I write it for me. To remember. To give thanks. Letter writing remains an important link to my life’s story which I hope someone cares about.

Do you write Christmas letters?

Merry Christmas, friend! May God shower you with blessings in 2021.

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6 Replies to “Christmas letters share lives with loved ones”

  1. I’m with you, Michelle, I enjoy getting Christmas letters, too. Especially from our adult children and grandchildren, and our siblings who live in other states and we seldom get to see.

  2. I love getting your letters too Michelle. Even though we *talk* through the year, it’s nice to see the year end pictures and hear about everyone’s lives. You are all very special to me, so it’s a joy. I used to write yearly letters too…I guess I have become lazy. Lately I tend to rely on Jacquie Lawson cards to express my thoughts and give family/friends a joyful online experience. I used to love getting her cards, so that I why I paid to subscribe, and people tell me they enjoy receiving them. I hope so 🙂

    1. I remember your letters. 🙂 Life gets busy, and some things just fall to the side. For me, I let Christmas baking go. I still bake special treats throughout the month, just not bucket loads of cookies anymore. We love your Jacquie Lawson cards. You are very special to me and my entire family also. Sending hugs to you all. Merry Christmas! Thanks for the blog note.

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